Maggot party

Let me tell you a real story. It's about this doofus who leaves home for 3 weeks, just after accidentally flipping the switch that shuts off the refrigerator and freezer, with piles of meat and other spoilable items inside. He only realizes that he might have turned off the fridge when he is already at the airport. But at that point, turning back would mean missing the flight; and then again, he isn't sure that he actually turned off the fridge, there's a chance that it could be still running.

So the guy proceeds with the trip and comes back home as scheduled in three weeks. He finds that the fridge is off. What's inside?

A crime scene from CSI, that's what. Piles of rotten meat, a stench that stinks to high heaven, maggots crawling, hundreds of larvae, larvae and maggots everywhere - on the door, in the cracks, in the ice dispenser; the freezer light doesn't turn on because there are larvae on the switch.

It looks like most people who have to go through this kind of thing, do so after having had to evacuate their homes for a few weeks during a hurricane. Me, I need no hurricane. Just a misfortunate flip of a switch in a hurry before leaving... :-)

We're yet to see if the fridge can be salvaged. For now, it's off to the store to buy bleach, baking soda - then possibly charcoal...

Comments

Sunshine said…
Wow, great job! Your description is more than enough for me. I don't even want to see it.

P.S. Did you also leave the fridge door open? Or does that mean that the ancestor of the now multiplied bugs has been in the meat even before? Like, also in the times when that meat was supposed to be eaten?
denis bider said…
Some people throw up, but it didn't really move me much. It was somewhat worse for my wife, because she has a stronger sense of smell.

It would appear that the maggots come from microscopic eggs most likely laid by flies before the meat is packed and sent to stores. We had some local chicken meat, which is fairly lightly processed and lightly packed. I doubt that they have top-notch sanitation in their facilities.

On the other hand, we also had imported chicken from the States, and I can't say with any degree of certainty that the maggots were in some package and not another.

I spent most of today disassembling the refrigerator/freezer and removing the maggot cocoons, or whatever they are called, from all the little nooks and crannies. They got everywhere. They got even into lightbulb sockets, with the bulb screwed in.

I'm still not sure how to remove them from some places - in particular, they colonized the plastic water pipe that delivers water for the icemaker. They're too far in for me to get to them, and I can't remove the plastic pipe.

If I don't figure something out, it looks like we won't be able to use the icemaker. :-/
verbatim said…
This is annoying and not so uncommon, at least not in Slovenia :). From now on you will double check probably. Airport is so much away from your place or you remind too late? Or next time give keys to trustworthy neighbour so you can call him if you are in doubt about something.

Or does that mean that the ancestor of the now multiplied bugs has been in the meat even before?

I know what you had in mind but that's why we have an immune system :P.

It would appear that the maggots come from microscopic eggs most likely laid by flies before the meat is packed and sent to stores.

This eggs can also be easily transmitted by other ways. Anytime you leave your fridge open for some short time or if you don't eat full package of meat at once and you return the rest of it to refrigerator insects have time to lay eggs. Real source of them is hard to find.

I'm still not sure how to remove them from some places - in particular, they colonized the plastic water pipe that delivers water for the icemaker. They're too far in for me to get to them, and I can't remove the plastic pipe.

If there are cocoons I think that you should wait that this little creatures are born. They will find their way out. If not, they will die and you can then wash them with water.

So the guy proceeds with the trip
If you visited interesting destination I vote for some photos or post about it. :))
denis bider said…
It took us two days to clean the fridge, I disassembled and reassembled it, Jana washed the fridge and bathed all the individual parts in a cleaning solution, we put in 4 packages of baking soda and some ground coffee beans, and by now, most of the smell has gone away.

The cocoons that went into the water pipe for the icemaker, the ones we couldn't get to, we just left there, turned on the icemaker. They've been washing up in the ice cubes the fridge makes, and we just empty those into the toilet, until no more wash up.

The exotic location we visited, alas, was Slovenia again. I guess you have plenty pictures of that. :-)
verbatim said…
I am glad you solved the problems.

The exotic location we visited, alas, was Slovenia again.

Well, president Bush said Slovenia is a big slice of heaven. :P

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